When I first began welcoming guests, the internet hadn't been invented (yes, I really am that old ...). We found our guests - or rather, they found us - though ads in the weekend papers and relevant magazines, leaflets and business cards. When we wanted to travel abroad, we walked into a High Street travel agency and let them organise the booking ; unless you knew someone who knew someone who knew someone, it was almost impossible to book a holiday outside the UK directly with the owner, and even if you could it was always a bit of a lottery thanks to a distinct information underload - a blurry photo of a bed and a stone wall, four lines of description, and if you were really lucky, the name of a village. As you may gather, I speak from bitter experience :)
First published 1 September 2014
Over the last couple of weeks there's been a huge amount of press coverage about holiday scams involving owner-managed accommodation: horrendous stories of people finding out at the last minute - or worse, on arrival - that they've booked with and paid their money to a fraudster, not to the holiday home owner. These particular scams work by the fraudster 'phishing' the holiday home owner, usually via their account with one of the listing sites such as Holiday Lettings, Homeaway or Owners Direct, sometimes via their email account; or occasionally via the cloning of an entire listing with different contact details; neither the holiday home owner nor the guest have any idea that the booking has been intercepted.
We've been writing here and there and about this and that since we arrived at Maison Grillou in 2007, just as we did back in our Norfolk days. From 2008 all the way up to the end of 2012 I blogged regularly about our first years in the Ariège and our - um - adventures renovating this house and welcoming its first guests. If you really have nothing better to do (or just want to see what we used to look like or know what we got up to in those days), you can still read those early posts here: